- Associated Press - Friday, December 23, 2016

EFFINGHAM, S.C. (AP) - Tim and Lisa King have operated Forest Lake Greenhouses for the past 27 years, growing and selling countless varieties of flowers, foliage and local plants.

One plant in particular, however, holds a special place at the Kings’ business: the poinsettia.

The recognizably Christmastime plant, which traditionally thrives in a tropical climate, was the Kings’ first crop.

“We had about 1,000 planted in our first Quonset greenhouse, and we were worried we were going to lose them when Hurricane Hugo came through,” Lisa said. “If we had lost those plants, we wouldn’t have had any income.”

Forest Lake now grows approximately 12,000 poinsettias each year. It sells the plant individually and wholesale throughout South Carolina and North Carolina.

Tim King said their poinsettia growing season begins the week of June 27 and takes a fair amount of attention until the selling season begins just after Thanksgiving.

“We keep them under mist for about a month, then we plant them and later come back to pinch the bulb,” he said. “We have to keep them at a temperature of at least 64 degrees.”

The Kings sell a variety of colors of poinsettias, from the traditional red poinsettia to a hybrid called “Jingle Bells.”

“We do about 70 percent (traditional), and the rest are novelty colors,” Tim said. “We have pinks, whites, golden and some hybrids.”

Forest Lake will sell their poinsettias until 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve. After that, they will donate the remaining plants to a local charity.

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Information from: Morning News, https://www.scnow.com


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